Tommy Red

Tommy Red
The Progressive Killer

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mafiya goes Kindle … The Draft … The Rangers … Atlantic City …

Amici:
 
 
 
The Picture was handled by Anthony Caliendo. The book cover design is another beauty from David Terrenoire (contact him by clicking on this link). Great job by both Anthony and David …
 
 
“Stella has crafted a true page-turner … Agnes is a flawed heroine, a refreshing change from too many lesser novels, and Stella remains a master of creating complex and believable characters. Stella has quickly become one of crime fiction's leading lights, and this latest effort will burnish that well-deserved reputation. A great book.” — Library Journal *Starred* Review
 
 
 
“Stella has been a “rising star” for some time now, and if his sixth thriller doesn’t place him in the firmament, it does confirm his rock-solid ability to deliver the goods...this revenge-driven tale will satisfy fans of strong women and contemporary crime—as you’ll guess from the title, the bad guys aren’t your father’s Mafia.” — Booklist
 
 
Captain Cally, burying the winner in OT!
 
The Rangers … they gave me a heart condition Thursday night when they blew a 2-0 lead and were down 3-2 with just under four minutes to play, but they came through with a goal to tie, and then Captain Callahan put home the winner in OT … so now we’re in the playoff tournament ... and who do we get in the first round? Let’s hope it’s not the Penguins … but if it is, I think it highly reprehensible that the Penguins allow that fellow with the broken jaw (the best player in the league—Sidney Crosby) to play while he’s still healing ... wait, take your time ... about 3 months or so … I mean, talk about capitalist exploitation …
 


How 'bout those Buffalo Bills!
 
 
The Draft … okay, so let’s all calm down. Of course the Bills will win the super bowl this year because of their first pick, E.J. Emanuel, QB … but the reason I only get excited for a few minutes is because there’s NOTHING to get excited about. NOBODY knows how these kids will do until they’re playing football in the NFL, and probably over a 2-3 year period. Yes, there are superstar phenomenal athletes like RG III and Andrew Luck … and there are also busts like Brian Bosworth (the Boz) and click on the link for this list of collegiate all-stars/NFL losers.
 
Just remember, arguably the best ever, Tom Brady, was picked in the 6th round ... Joe Montana went in the third round (and sat on the bench his first season) ... Aaron Rodgers had to wait until pick # 24 in the first round ... you see what I’m saying? Relax already.
 
But don’t feel too bad when our team (my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills, whips up on your team—the 31 other teams) because of E.J. … let’s just hope our GM, Buddy Nix, wasn’t spinning his magical ability to fuckup a cup of coffee … oy vey.
 
 
Atlantic City … the movie was great (in my top 15). “You should’ve seen the Atlantic Ocean in those days.” … but that’s what you should visit, the movie, not the actual city. This week we spent a night at one of the hotels off the boardwalk (not a smart move) …
 
The Borgota … I used to be a degenerate craps player (certifiable really) … between Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and a few after hour joints in Manhattan … but I came to my senses after taking bets for a few years … and like many former addicts, my former obsession became something I no longer understood others engaging in (i.e., the crusader syndrome, minus the preaching) … in any event, I don’t often go to Atlantic City … just two times over the last 10 years, and I NEVER gamble anymore (haven’t even played any of the 3 big horse races in a few years) … but the Principessa Ann Marie wanted a night out and away from Casa Stella, and since she found one of those fugazy cheap deals in the mail … it was off we went to the place most hyped in our small circle of AC devotees … The Borgota … my review won’t make them happy.
 
The room … In a word, “Meh” … if you’re not getting one of the cheap deals like my wife found in the mail (A Monday-Thursday $139.00 plus $100.00 back in food, etc.) ... forgetaboutit … after walking the dark hallways (it reminded me of a mausoleum), the room wasn’t much better. The TV remote, for one thing, took two service attempts to fix. The toilet was sealed off from the bathroom proper, with no air at all (so it felt like a sauna) … and although there was a nice size shower, there wasn’t a tub … I can’t imagine paying more than the cheap deal for a room in the Borgata … in total a “C-” (at best). There is a newer version of the same hotel, adjacent to it (The Water Club) but since there’s no boardwalk there either … I can’t imagine it being any better, no matter if the remotes work and/or the hallways aren’t lit like a cave.
 
The restaurants … what casino isn’t going to have good restaurants? We ate at Wolfgang Pucks, where a glass of water was $12.00 (I’m almost not kidding), so the $100 food rebate turns the $200 meal into a $100 meal … that’s the upside … the downside is I wouldn’t have eaten there in the first place … not with a gun to my head.
 
The casino … same as all of them … although there did seem to be lots of $.01 machines for those so broke they’re down to their literal last pennies … oy vey … but (and yet), the Principessa Ann Marie, “playing one for her sisters” dropped some coin in a $5.00 slot machine (the horror) … I (nor she) didn’t realize a) it was five fazools a spin … NOR did I (nor she) realize that when she tapped the little “Play Max” button, she was dropping $25.00 in about 2.1 seconds. Her husband was watching. He said, “Oh, Rockefeller, what the fuck?”
 
The Principessa insists had she won, I wouldn’t be breaking her shoes … which I did for the entire drive home, having fun quoting a few of my favorite lines (both sides of the conversations) from The Pope of Greenwich Village … to wit:
 
After passing through an EZ Pass lane:
 
“Hey, how come you didn’t tip?”
“Fuck that. What am I Santa Clause?”
 
“Big shot, Paulie … Big shot ...”
“You jinxed it Chaloots.”
 
Speaking of The Pope of Greenwich Village … you gotta love Paulie’s logic … I followed it like a champ back in the day
 
.
 
Where was I wrong?... If I figured I’d get caught, I’d be a thousand percent wrong …” We saw a comedy show that was another “Meh”; sometimes funny, sometimes not funny. There’s no point in grading anything else. We won’t be going back (probably to A.C. for a long time to come anyway), but if we do, it won’t be to the Borgata … you’re gonna go to Atlantic City, stay on the boardwalk so you can at least go for a walk and stare at the Atlantic Ocean.
 
 
—Knucks
 
In a time when workers have been screwed by their elected representatives (President Obama, et al), union leaders (Richard Trumka), and pretty much the public at large (which couldn’t be more ironic since most of us, duh, are workers) … here’s one from Il Trovatore … the anvil chorus … Let’s go to work now … with anvils … and hammers …
 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Beware the uptick in nationalism and/or Stand Your Ground ... In Giovanni’s Room ... is this man a jinx or what? …

Amici:
 
 
The last time we heard the frenzied chants of “USA! USA!”, a well oiled propaganda machine stirred our collective national pride into two wars of choice (one of which we’re still fighting). Too many of us believed, myself included, that Afghanistan was a training ground for terrorists, as if they couldn’t train anywhere else in the world, and that those schools needed to be eradicated. Too many of us believed, myself included, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction they were about to unleash on us unless we took them out first. Too many of us believed, myself included, we were in imminent danger of being victimized by terrorism.
 
So, we stood our ground, if you will, and didn’t retreat. No, instead we went halfway around the world to pursue those who we were told would harm us ... and over the course of 12-13 years, the well oiled propaganda machine did its best to tell us we were winning, even when it was obvious nobody was winning ... then they told us the atrocities over there were merely collateral damage (because in war, innocent people die, too, etc.) … but the end result has been one tragedy heaped upon another, our kids dying and being maimed, their kids dying and being maimed, and nobody really believes anybody will be better off when we finally exit Afghanistan.
 
And if you believe we did something wonderful for Iraq, here’s something to take into account, especially in light of what happened in Boston this past Monday: In Iraq, the country we invaded by choice, as of January 19, 2013, there were an average of 6.4 civilian deaths per day caused by suicide attacks and car bombs in 2013.
 
What happened in Boston this past Monday was tragic. No matter the political cause and/or statement, the killing of innocent people can never be justified, not as collateral damage nor as primary targets, but that cannot apply to Americans only. The fact of the matter is we’re responsible for the same thing occurring on a daily basis in at least two countries we chose to war with, where innocents are killed by bombs daily, because our interference with their lives has left their countries in a state of chaos. And, no, we shouldn’t go back and try to straighten things out for them. We’ve done more than enough damage to all concerned.
 
We should remember what conservatives so often like to quote (from their hero, Ronald Reagan): “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'” Does anyone really think the Iraqi’s are grateful for our help? Maybe the ones we greased with billions of now unaccounted for cash, but ask the average Iraqi what they think ... and do it soon, before they’re victims of another suicide bombing.
 
 
And this leads to what happened in the Boston Garden the night of the Bruins-Sabres game the other night. When everyone in the crowd belted out the national anthem, it was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion and support for the victims of the marathon bombings, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It was heartfelt and magical, but there was also a surge of national pride that gave me pause when the anthem was finished, and the “USA, USA” chants began. I thought, uh-oh, here we go again.
 
Let’s hope not.
 
The update to this post is that the second suspect has been captured. Excuse the lack of fire, I’ve been burned one too many times by political overzealousness to go to war. I’m glad the kid wasn’t killed.
 
 
Speaking of Stand Your Ground … excuse me for repeating myself, but ... need further proof it’s a disastrous law? Look back to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars of choice … our lives were in imminent dangerwe had to get them before they got us … what we got was a 2nd and then 3rd Vietnam, way too many Americans killed, way too many maimed veterans, way too many innocent Iraqi and Afghani dead, two major contributors to our national debt, and a boom for defense contractors and flag manufacturers.
 
Stand your ground domestically has given gang members an out when they fight in the streets and has made chunky insurance underwriters/wannabe cops a lot braver than they’d be without a gun in their possession. We already have a self-defense law on the books. There’s no need to encourage morons who watch a few too many action movies to make themselves overnight celebrities. This isn’t about gun control. Outside of the common sense stuff (what some of our illustrious Senators ignored), I say the government should back off.
 
My beef with Stand Your Ground is about the right to kill on impulse …. shooting someone because somebody “thinks” their life is in danger. That’s just too vague a concept and can be stretched, as we’ve now experienced, halfway across the globe … and for what?
 
 
 
Your life is in imminent danger? You sure, or you just think so? George Zimmerman felt the need to pursue a kid walking home from the store, even after the police told him to back off. Something happened after Zimmerman ignored the police directive that led to his shooting the kid. Zimmerman says his life was in imminent danger, even though he’s the one who was carrying a gun. The kid with the candy and soft drink doesn’t get to speak for himself, because he’s dead.
 
So maybe we should’ve nuked Iraq and Afghanistan and said they were about to shoot first.
 
You see what I’m saying? It’s bullshit. Whether Zimmerman’s life was in imminent danger or not, whether Iraq had WMD or not, whether the Taliban used Afghanistan to train the way we use Camp Lejeune to train marines ... you don’t shoot people (or go to war with them) on an impulse ... and we did.
 


In Giovanni’s Room … James Baldwin’s second novel was published in 1956, a time when homosexuality was not only buried from public view for fear of persecution, it was often buried in the souls of those yearning to come out. The protagonist (David) in Baldwin’s second novel is a man fighting his sexuality amidst the slings and arrows of a rigid society, and a father who wants to do right by his son, but wants for his son to be a man. David had a homosexual experience while growing up in Brooklyn. Immediately after spending a night with another boy, he became a bully to the same boy—mostly because of the self loathing shame he felt from what society had deemed verboten. Later on, continually having to fight off and inner urge to be with the opposite sex, David becomes engaged to a woman as a defense mechanism, and eventually flees to Paris to avoid school and to find himself. It is in the city of lights where he finds Giovanni, a gay bartender, and perhaps himself. Self denial turns tragic when he ultimately leaves Giovanni to re-prove himself a man. The drama that ensues is riveting. A wonderful novel that perhaps should be required reading in our high schools to help those young enough who hold a fear of homosexuality ... maybe they'll get over themselves; maybe they'll see the damage their unwillingness to accept what is normal sexual behavior for some … and if for no other reason than to help to avoid the individual self-loathing that can result from a society that scorns what they refuse to understand; if for no other reason than to keep a kid from feeling his or her only out is to leap from a bridge.
 
 


Is this man a jinx or what? I was born a Mets fan … but when it came to football, at least when I first started watching it, I was a Packers fan because they were coached by a guy with a last name that ended in a vowel—Vince Lombardi. So, as I learned the rules and became a fan of the game, then started to play the game, Lombardi had already passed away and my loyalty to a team that played in Wisconsin seemed silly. Somewhere in my twenties, I decided to root, root, root, for the home team and since the Jets played at Shea Stadium along with the Mets, it was a natural transition to root for team Green. Because the Giants played at the old Skankie Stadium, there was no way I could root for them. Upon returning home post-college and getting married, I did what any self-respecting moron would do, I bought season tickets to the Jets during the Richard Todd era … but was it Richard Todd or me who jinxed the Jets?

When they moved to New Jersey, I wrote the Jet organization about what they could do with my season tickets … they didn’t write back. There was one team left in New York, the Buffalo Bills … and they sucked. The Bills were 2-14 in 1984, but they got to pick first in the next NFL draft. So, in 1985, we chose wisely … Bruce Smith … and the road to the good years began. I won’t go through my history with good old Mr. Wilson and my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills … 4 super bowl appearances (and losses) in a row isn’t anything to be proud of (sorry, it’s not). But they were arguably the best team in the league (perhaps of the decade if they had a Bill Parcells of their own), but Super Bowl frustration is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Putting it plainly: it is better you don’t get there.



Of course many years have since passed and the Bills are a year-to-year disaster, starting with the genius behind the moves these days, Buddy Nix … but hope springs eternal and it wouldn’t take much to climb the mountain with all the parity around the league.

And because the Principessa Ann Marie wants to see Niagara Falls at least once this lifetime, we’re heading upstate for the second game of the upcoming season ... my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills open with the Cheatriots on September 8, then follow with another home game against the Panthers on September 15. Why the Panthers and not the Choketriots, yous ask? Simple: I want to see my Bills lose by less than 30 ...

Enter my new love, the New York Rangers. 6 goals last night ... 7 so far tonight (after 2 periods--they finished with 8) ... more than what is usually our bi-monthly allotment, but hope springs eternal ... unless the Jinx is on ... for it seems the teams I fall in love with are immediately granted the kiss of death ... hopefully not during the playoffs ... if we don’t choke and miss them. Can we beat the Penguins, especially without their superstar, Sidney Crosby? I doubt it … but that’s why they play the games, Amci. See the L.A. Kings, last year’s Stanley Cup Champions … they were also 8th in their division (16th overall) and they went through the playoffs like a hot knife through butter ... all the way to the Stanley cup.

By the way … who the FOCK was Stanley?

—Knucks

Let’s get spiritual, amici ... with some Blind Faith ... In the Presence of the Lord ...

Friday, April 12, 2013

No texting while driving, please … Hubert Selby Jr. … Rutgers … Momma Stella and the Rangers ...

Amici:
 
 
It was a few months ago when I was almost run off a curve (driving from 287 onto 22 East) while driving to work by some bimbo who couldn’t stop herself from texting while driving. We were both doing about 55 MPH and were about an inch or two apart when we both realized she’d veered into my lane. I wound up an inch or two from the edge of the road to avoid her. I was really pissed off when I saw her little toy in her right hand, which remained high enough for her to get back to whatever held her interest. She was somewhere in her late twenties, maybe early thirties. She didn’t apologize or acknowledge she'd almost hit me. She just looked forward the way she should’ve been in the first place and drove away ... probably to the next area where she thought it was safe to reengage her texting.
 
The other day I counted 5 morons texting while I drove to work, not a single one of them under the age of 30; five adults who somehow felt it was more than okay to look anywhere but at the road while in slow moving traffic. Texting and driving ... it really should be a violation at least as bad as a DUI. Hopefully it already is. I can’t imagine how pissed-off I’d be if I saw someone texting (like the bimbette mentioned above) and they wound up hitting me. About a month ago, on 22 East, a guy in his mid-thirties was texting while we were stuck in heavy traffic in the right lane. I eventually drove around him and cut him off. I was as close to road rage as I can get. Fortunately, he didn't give me the finger or anything else (probably because he was absorbed in his conversation). I didn’t want to have to see him anywhere but in my rearview mirror. I was angry a good half hour later when I finally parked.
 
These clowns can always be spotted. Usually from the big gaps they leave between the cars in front of them. They’re so focused on their message, they don’t notice the rest of the world is still spinning.
 


I only wish it was legal to play bumper cars with assholes that text and drive … which would lead to some new job creation, compliments of the ugly one (moi). We hire people to go out in some beat-up used cars to give texters a little tough love bump when the violators are so busy texting they forget to move up in traffic. Just a little nudge, bumper to bumper … and should the texter waive his/her arms in frustration, the nudger gets to ram the silly son-of-a-bitch again, then make a citizens arrest ... and maybe impale them with a sharpened nightstick?
 
Okay, I jest ... well, not really. Maybe a citizens beating instead of an arrest ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So here’s how the Rutgers scandal has thus far shaken out …
 
The guy who exposes the Rutgers basketball scandal, Eric Murdock, gets fired for insubordination ... and is sueing for wrongful termination. Think he has a case?
 
Mike Rice, the lunatic head coach, was finally fired, but gets $100,000 for making it to the end of the year.
 
The incompetent Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti, who allowed Mike Rice to make it to the end of the year? He gets $1.2 Million.
 
 
 
The fuck you want from me?
 
Robert Barchi, the incompetent President of the school who claims he didn’t bother looking at the video when it was first available to him, he gets to stay on the job as if he did something right.
 
 
Fatsos for Barchi!
 
AAAAAAAAAAAnd, the popular fatso governor of the state of New Jersey gave Barchi his support … does anyone ever wonder why New Jersey is considered the most corrupt state in the union?
 
Finally, there’s tiny Jimmy Martelli, the punk, shrimp-ass, little Napoleon “assistant coach” … although he isn’t getting any money, he did get to resign before being fired.
 
Most criminals will tell you: It’s a good country, America … it’s a very good country …
 
 
Momma Stella and the Rangers ...
 
Me: Ma, you gonna watch the Rangers Saturday night?
 
MS: Go scratch your ass, you and the rangers.
 
I love my Mommy!
 
 
—Knucks
 
Gustavo Dudamel ... he animated or what?
 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rutgers ... the gift that keeps on giving ... Eric Murdock, “Pay him. Pay that man his money.”

Amici:
 
Still sneezing and loaded with congestion and all that other crap that goes along with being sick ... so it’s lots of reading, some feeble attempts at writing, and lots of ESPN ... which leads to the gift that keeps on giving (for drama lovers everywhere) ...
 
 
 
So, your kid is a high school athlete and he/she’s looking at colleges? Here’s an idea, cross Rutgers off the list. As it turns out, the latest reason Athletic Director Tim Pernetti should be fired, as if there needs to be another reason, has to do with—you guessed it, yet another video ... this one similar to the video that exposed Mike Rice to be a psychotic, out-of-control, bully. This time it’s one of Rice’s assistant coaches, the only one who coached under Rice in the past. An even smaller in stature man (talk about a Napoleon complex), little Jimmy Martelli (known by his players as “Baby Rice”), can also be seen abusing players just like his boss. Martelli is yet another exposed psychotic who not only worked for Rutgers, he was obviously protected by their incredibly incompetent athletic director, Tim Pernetti.
 
Both coaches were abusive and offensive, yet only one was suspended? So much for that careful investigation by the Rutgers athletic director.
 
Hmmm ...
 
Martelli was seen pulling the same crap as Rice (shoving players, throwing balls, using homophobic language, etc.), but he was neither fined nor suspended. So much for that investigation Pernetti called for when he first viewed the video. Pernetti took the situation so seriously he somehow missed what this little punk, Jimmy Martelli, was doing. Or maybe Martelli’s “rehabilitation” was being handled a different way?
 
To be fair, Martelli is pretty damn small and maybe Pernetti missed him on the video. Isn’t it an extra kick when a peanut punk like Martelli uses an authoritative position to bully men twice his size? Men who could use him for a bowling bowl ...
 
 
Okay, so TK figures the conversation between the genius running the school, President Robert Barchi, and his Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti, the day the video went public went something like this:
 
Barchi: Thanks for cutting my throat on ESPN’s Outside the Lines yesterday by telling the world you brought the video to me in December and that I also viewed it.
 
Pernetti: Come on, Bob, we can work this out. Let’s put our heads together.
 
Barchi: I never saw the tape until this week and you get to keep your job.
 
Pernetti: Deal.
 
Or maybe there was some cash involved. Who knows? Yesterday we all learned that Mike Rice gets a $100,000 bonus for finishing the season as the head coach of Rutgers. I can’t help but be reminded of the CEO’s on Wall Street who walked away with multi-million dollar BAILOUT bonuses after bankrupting their companies. I mean, it’s not like Rice did anything wonderful with the program. Rutgers finished 4 games under 500 (14-18).
 
Seems like a slap in the face a day for John and Jane Q. Public, doesn’t it?
 
 
 
So, apparently Murdock wasn’t looking to shake down the program for $1,000,000 after all. What he apparently tried to do was repeatedly bring the Rice/Martelli situation to the attention of an athletic director who wanted to see nothing wrong with his hires and/or his program. Murdock, of course (sarcasm intended), was fired for "insubordination" ... if yous can believe it. Talk about wrongful terminations ... sweet Jesus, wouldn't you like to be his attorney?

Rutgers firing Murdock, then refusing his settlement offer, reminds me of a great scene (and sound advice) from Rounders ...
 
 
So why blame an entire school for the actions of a few, yous ask? Why suggest that parents of high school athletes cross Rutgers off their list? Because when corruption flows that heavy top to bottom, there’s nothing better to expect until the corruption is wiped clean. The Rutgers ship needs to be set back on course and for a long period of time. Parents shouldn’t have to gamble with their kids' futures. Firstly, it’s too expensive a mistake to make. You think the kids playing for Rutgers today are feeling good about their choice? Parents and the athletes themselves need to have all their doubts removed. Why risk sending their kids into the mess Rutgers basketball has become. And why should parents of football players, baseball players, swimmers, etc., feel any better? Tim Pernetti is still the athletic director, a position that covers all sports. If this clown remains at Rutgers, why would any parent entrust their kid to Rutgers?
 
Let Rutgers prove themselves first. Let them handle, say, a four year cycle of no scandals AFTER they clean house. If they could do that, I’d maybe consider sending my kid into one of their athletic programs. Maybe.
 
And if they’re not willing to clean house, then let them rot. Let the NCAA step in and do what they’re supposed to do, protect college athletes.
 
This scandal is an obvious cover-up, mostly because there’s a friggin’ VIDEO. It makes the cover-up at Penn State look humble—not what they covered-up, but the cover-up itself ... and the Penn State cover-up was about as obvious as they come.
 
It’s been two days since head coach Mike Rice was whacked. On Wednesday, Jimmy Martelli whacked himself from the program (like the coward he obviously is). Check that—diminutive coward. The Athletic Director and President cannot possibly last without the help of a corrupt board of directors. Then again, this is New Jersey, the most corrupt state in the union, so why not? This is one of those obvious clean house scenarios and anything less will leave a bigger stench on Rutgers athletics than the current load of bullshit Athletic Director Tim Pernetti continues to feed the media about “rehabilitation.” He was looking to rehabilitate the head coach while ignoring one of the assistants who was dishing out the same exact abuse ... because it was better for all involved?
 
Really?
 
Pernetti should be fired for cause. INCOMPETENCE comes to mind. And President Barchi should resign and/or be fired. End of story.
 
—Knucks
 
What should happen to the President and Athletic Director at Rutgers University is pretty obvious to everybody ... except the President and Athletic Director at Rutgers University ... and possibly its Board of Directors...
 
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Rutgers Scandal (part deux) ... Robinson Cano … Passione, John Turturro … SNHU MFA’ers getting published ...

Amici:
 
Up too early from a night of Nyquil Cold and Flu to sleep late. Sick as a dog, I listen to the news (ESPN radio/WFAN radio) and there’s the Rutgers basketball scandal.
 
 
Rutgers basketball is a reminder about collegiate athletic programs, especially high profile ones—they are all about winning first and foremost. One problem with this particular scandal, especially if the allegations that the school was well aware of Mike Rice’s insane behavior at basketball practice (never mind their games) is true (and it appears to be) ... the program isn’t a very good one (i.e., they don’t win often enough to assume winning was the reason the school permitted Rice to continue coaching). This year they finished 14-18. The team under coach psycho overall is: 45-51.
 
In the immortal words of football great, Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says you are.”
 
The Rutgers basketball scandal is yet another college athletic disgrace. The video is what the school was allegedly aware of back in December (or possibly July--either month would qualify as "the scandal, Part One"), when they suspended the coach for 3 games and fined him $50K. Never mind the physical abuse, for which any of the players involved had the right to kick the coach’s ass six ways to Sunday, Rutgers is the school where two morons (Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei) videotaped a gay student who later committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington bridge. Coach Psycho apparently used anti-gay slurs as if he were getting paid to be a homophobe. I guess he just doesn't remember that ... Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman, is believed to have jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and another Rutgers student broadcast a hidden live-stream of Clementi having sex ...
 
 
So how different is the Rutgers decision (the school itself, never mind the athletic director/department) from Penn State’s ignoring what was going on under their noses. Apparently more so, because this time it was on tape.
 
How the school permitted either the AD or the head coach to remain on campus longer than fifteen minutes after this video was brought to their attention is beyond believable. One can only hope the kids have some legal basis to sue the school. At this point, if Tim Pernetti (the AD) did as he claims, and informed the school President, Robert L. Barchi, then all three (at the least) should not only be fired, they should be precluded from filing for unemployment.
 
As for head coach, Mike Rice ... there’s a special place in a living hell for assholes like this—to never have any authority over kids again. Maybe he needs to find another sport where he can take out his aggressions a in a more equitable manner, perhaps where his victims can retaliate without fear of losing their scholarships. Somebody say the UFC?
 
Last year, after the concussion issue took national center stage with the suicide of Junior Seau, it was reported that collegiate football players are NOT held to the same contact restrictions as NFL players. The reason is obvious--no union. Collegiate athletes are the ones responsible for the huge amounts of cash colleges are blessed with year-to-year. It is football and basketball that fill college coffers, yet the players can be suspended for having a free meal, selling an autograph, etc. It’s a one way ticket; capitalism at its ugliest. You work for me and I’ll feed you and send you to school (even though it’s your athletic skills I’m interested in and not your education), and then, should you not pick up any major injury along the way, you can join the pool of thousands who seek employment with their athletic skills. And if you’re a great athlete and can maintain that greatness at the professional level, you can make millions someday. If you were just another player, it was nice having you along for the ride. We hope you remember us as an alumni and donate what you can.
 
Unionize the college athlete or pay them for the revenues they attract. And let’s quit calling them student athletes already, especially when they play for major athletic programs. That’s a crock of shit label nobody with a right mind ever believed in. College athletes today are temporary chattel. They will only be protected when it serves their program's best interests (whether it be from criminal charges and/or academic issues), but are forgotten and neglected as soon as they are deemed no longer of value. In the Rutgers case, it’s even worse. The players there were obviously abused as if they were chattel.
 
The Mike Rice situation reminded me of a book I once read a very long time ago (and couldn’t quite remember the name). Meat on the Hoof (I thought it was Meat on the Hook) tells the story of big time college football in Texas. Amazon’s description here: They raise cattle and football players in Texas. The cattle are treated better. MEAT ON THE HOOF is a startling look at big-time college football. The University of Texas Longhorns under Coach Darrell Royal have long been a major football power. How did they get there? Gary Shaw says by juggling the approved limit of athletic scholarships. By placing the players in psychological bondage through a complex series of physical and mental maneuvers. And by running off all the "meat" which had "quitter" in it or couldn't take it. And by setting up an elaborate caste system that had the surviving players clawing to get to the top. MEAT ON THE HOOF is a weekday look at Saturday's heroes in which Gary Shaw debunks the myth of American college football's Super-male. He examines in detail the real motivations behind these machismo efforts at glory. Gary Shaw was a high-school football star in Denton, Texas, recruited by Darrell Royal as a lineman. He was one of the few who made the team. But all along the line he had a vague uneasy feeling that something was wrong. Now he tells what the transformation from high-school star to "just another body" at Texas was like for him and his teammates. He tells of the "education" coach whose job it was to help athletes get the most out of their Texas days but in fact did little more than steer mighty Longhorns into gut course after gut course.
 
It’s early Wednesday morning as I write this. If Mike Rice is still employed by Rutgers University when I post this (before noon sometime), I will be as surprised as I’ll be pissed off.
 
 
 
Robinson Cano ... Speaking of athletes ... imagine you’re the owner of a major league baseball team and you have a very talented player who demands a substantial increase in salary, the only catch being, he doesn’t run out groundballs. What’s this, a socialist speaking up for management? No, not really. This has to do with what people are expecting when they plop down the price of a ticket to watch major league baseball, but instead get robbed for a half-assed effort from spoiled athletes.
 
Some ticket prices at Yankee Stadium:
 
Those on the Roof go for $33.00 per ticket to $50.00 per ticket ....
 
Or first row in roof tickets $65.00 per ticket.
 
One level below, it’s $75.00 ... and remember, to watch Robinson Cano jog to first base. Bring binoculars.
 
In section 118 one level above the field, it’s $165.00 per ticket ... or $660.00 for a family of four.
 
But if you’re really made of cash, the “Legends” field boxes go from $792.00 to $990.00 per ticket. How cool is that? Yous can take your family to see Robinson Cano jog out a grounder to first base in any one of 81 home games for the mere price of $3,960 fazools! That's four large (but fear not, you won't have to pay for franks, soda, beer, the program, etc.) ... four large, and you’ll be so close, you can almost reach out and touch his uniform as it gracefully makes its way down the first base line ...
 
And remember, nobody jogs to first base like Robinson Cano ...
 
Oy friggin’ vey … these are a few of so many reasons I will never attend another baseball game (haven’t for some 20 years now—you couldn’t give me a ticket), nor will I waste my time watching one. Baseball became a friggin’ joke a long time ago. Designated hitters? Really? Move the fences in? Why? A team pays $20,000,000 for a guy who is above it all? And doesn’t this kind of dilute that American mantra about hard work leading to great things ... I guess jogging to first base is now accepted as “hard work” ...
 
Why would anybody give them their attention, never mind their hard earned cash? And, yes, that is a a socialist suggesting that the corporate money buying up the best tickets isn't very hard-earned.
 
Last week a report on CNN showed how frankfurters at Citifield (where the Mets play) are $6.25 each and beers (16 ounce) are $8.00 each. So, assuming a family of four has 1 frank each, and Mom and Pop 1 beer each, we’re talking: $25.00 for franks and $16.00 for beer ... for a grand total of $41.00.
 
Some families of four are forced to live on groceries for a week for less.
 
And why would anyone pay the price of admission, the parking, buy the program, etc., and then want either a frank or a beer at those prices? For a family of four, in some ballparks, even sitting in the nosebleed sections, we’re talking about a $200 outing. For slightly better seats, maybe $300. For great seats, assuming the field level corporate boxes are available, probably closer to $3,000 to $4,000. Imagine, all that gelt to watch some clown jog to first base on a groundball? What kills me is there are assholes who defend the pricing of these tickets. They claim it’s the “free market” at work ...
 
The first baseball game I attended was a Mets-Giants game at Shea Stadium. Box seats were $3.50 ... I don’t remember what franks or a soda or a beer cost. What I do remember is Willie Mays running so fast, I saw him as a blur running the bases. Willie Mays ... if a lazy-assed schmuck like Robinson Cano is worth $20,000,000 today, imagine what Mays would be worth ...
 
TK says, have a blast suckers ... we’d rather watch grass grow.
 
 
 
Passione … Actor, writer, director, John Turturro’s film on Naples, where my mother’s father was from. As interesting as it gets ... with two songs I recognized from my childhood ...
 
 
 
SNHU MFA'ers getting published ...
 
Jerri Hickox Clayton’s 50-Word Story, Date #3
 
James Seals, Swimming the Purgatoire ...
 
 
 
—Knucks
 
Mala Femmena ...
 
 
 
A slower version with English subtitles ...
 
 
And Dean Martin sings one more song from Old Napoli ...